Artists United for a Free Palestine: 55 US and UK artists join forces for benefit album

Phil Elverum amongst dozens of artists to contribute in a collaborative effort to support relief charities

Jason Groth, John Andrews and Phil Elverum are among the contributors. Photos: Getty Images / The Yawns
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More than 50 artists from across the United States and the United Kingdom have united for a new benefit compilation in support of the Palestine Children’s Relief Fund and Palestine Legal.

The digital album, entitled Merciless Accelerating Rhythms – Artists United for a Free Palestine, features 55 unreleased songs from independent musicians across genres ranging from ambient electronic to jazz.

The title comes from the poem by Jamaican-American author and anti-apartheid activist June Jordan, who passed away in 2002. Entitled I Must Become a Menace to My Enemies, the poem was written in tribute to Agostinho Neto, former president of the People’s Republic of Angola in 1976.

The organisers on the album’s Bandcamp listing have written: “We as Artists United for a Free Palestine see retaliation as a diversity of tactics; as mutual aid; as solidarity with the people of Palestine; as direct action, if necessary; as an immediate end to the Israeli Occupation Force and a Free Palestine, forever; as a liberated world.

“Our duty as artists has – and always will be – radical acts of care; the least we can do is send aid to those facing/fighting genocide in Palestine, and those organising access to lawyers and legal support for those who need it.”

Artists who contributed to the compilation include singer-songwriter Phil Elverum, whose musical projects The Microphones and Mount Eerie have been acclaimed in alternative circles since he began releasing music in the 1990s. His 2017 album A Crow Looked At Me was the bestselling and most critically praised of his career, landing on the New York Times top 10 list for the year. The benefit album contains his new song, & Sun (Early), under the Mount Eerie moniker.

Other notable contributions to the compilation include the tenured independent rock musician Kyle Field, who releases music under the moniker Little Wings; rocker John Andrews; folk musician Libby Rodenbough; Magnolia Electric Co.’s Jason Evans Groth, and more.

Numerous projects in benefit of Palestine have been released over the last six months. Also in the independent music world, American singer-songwriter Adrianne Lenker released a solo EP ahead of her latest album release, with all proceeds also going to Palestine Children’s Relief Fund.

Artists from the film industry also joined forces recently for the Cinema for Gaza initiative, a ten-day auction which raised $315,000 for Medical Aid for Palestinians, a British charity that offers medical services in Gaza.

Contributions to the auction included Tilda Swinton, Ramy Youssef, Annie Lennox, Joaquin Phoenix and Jonathan Glazer.

The death toll for the continuing conflict in Gaza has reached 34,622, with 77,867 injured.

Updated: May 04, 2024, 10:25 AM